Archive for the 'Peregrines' Category

Apr 22 2016

Names For Nestlings

Nestlings in 2009 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

12-day-old peregrine nestlings, May 2009 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Perhaps we shouldn’t count our peregrines before they hatch but the chicks at the Hays bald eagle nest and Cornell’s red-tailed hawk nest made me think about nestling names.

When we see birds on camera we want them to have names.

Bald eagle chicks are named with the nest letter + a number that keeps increasing year after year.  At the Hays nest the names are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, etc.

At Cornell’s red-tailed hawk nest, Big Red and Ezra’s chicks are named with a letter that changes every year + a number.  The nest is now up to the letter G so the first two chicks were named G1 and G2 and together they’re called “the G’s.”

In the past we didn’t name peregrine nestlings until Banding Day but that led to misunderstandings and confusion so here’s the plan — similar to the bald eagle protocol.

The Cathedral of Learning nestlings will named with a nest letter that doesn’t change (C for Cathedral of Learning) + a number.  If we’d started this in 2009 the four nestlings above would be C1, C2, C3, C4.

Good luck figuring out who’s who!  Peregrine eggs all hatch within 24+ hours so the nestlings are the same size for a long time.  This only changes when the females become noticeably larger that the males. Males are 1/3 smaller.

15-day-old peregrine nestlings, May 2009 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

15-day-old peregrine nestlings, May 2009 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

When will the eggs hatch at Pitt?  I believe that real incubation did not begin until April 3 or 4.  Wild peregrines hatch their eggs in about 33 days.  (Incubator-raised eggs hatch sooner because of constant temperature without interruptions.)   So my prediction for Hatch Day at Pitt is approximately May 6.  …But I might be wrong…

Why isn’t the hatch date sooner?  After E2 died, Hope spent a long time away from the nest searching for a mate.  If she had heated the first three eggs to incubation temperature and then left them, her long absence would cause those embryos to fail.  At this point I believe she merely protected the three eggs until all four began incubation in early April.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh, May 2009)

5 responses so far

Apr 14 2016

This Saturday and Sunday at the National Aviary

Kate St. John (photo by Thom Moeller)

This Saturday and Sunday, as part of Sky Kings Weekend, I’ll be presenting Celebrate Pittsburgh’s Peregrines! at the National Aviary.

Come on down for the 12:30pm show on Saturday April 16 or Sunday April 17.

Click here for more information on my Events page.

 

(photo by Tom Moeller)

9 responses so far

Apr 11 2016

Look For Perching Peregrines

Published by under Peregrines

There's a peregrine in this picture. Can you see him? (photo by Kate St. John)

There’s a peregrine in this picture. Can you see him? (photo by Kate St. John)

Here’s a quiz.  And a plea for help.

There’s a peregrine falcon in the picture above.  Can you see him?

When I took this photo from an office window last spring I already knew the nest was nearby.

This spring the Downtown Pittsburgh peregrines have moved again.  We don’t know where, but we can find the nest if we find a perching peregrine.  That’s because the male perches within sight or sound of the nest while the female is incubating.

Within sight(?):  On April 6, Trinidad Regaspi saw a peregrine perched on the SPACE Gallery building at 812 Liberty Avenue.

Within sound(?): Yesterday morning at 7:45am, Matt Webb was on his BirdSafe route when he heard a peregrine calling from the direction of the old Horne’s Building at Penn and Stanwix.   Doug Cunzolo checked it out an hour later but couldn’t find anything except lots of workmen erecting scaffolding on the building.  The workmen were still there when I came by at 5:00pm.

I didn’t find a peregrine yesterday but there are plenty of places to look.  That’s why I need your help.

Here’s what to do (as posted last week):

Look up! Or look out of your office window.  Look for a perching peregrine. One of the pair will perch in the vicinity of the nest while the other one incubates.

Tips on where to look:
Look at old buildings, probably less than 20 stories. Look at ornate parts of the architecture, window ledges, etc. The peregrines are often camouflaged on ornate buildings.

I do not need to know if you see peregrines flying.  (They fly everywhere.)  I do need to know where they perch.

Mission impossible? Not if you help.

If you see a perching peregrine, leave a comment telling me where it is and I’ll come Downtown to check.

Keep looking up!

 

p.s.  Even if you don’t live in Pittsburgh, these instructions are good for finding nesting peregrines in cities.

(photo by Kate St. John)

30 responses so far

Apr 08 2016

Juvenile Female Makes Brief Intrusion at Pitt Nest

Juvenile female bows to Terzo at Pitt peregrine nest, 8 April 2016, 3:13pm (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Juvenile female bows to Terzo at Pitt peregrine nest, 8 April 2016, 3:13pm (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

This afternoon webcam viewers were surprised to see a brown-colored falcon arrive at the Pitt peregrine nest and then bow and e-chup at Terzo as he was incubating.

Terzo was surprised, too.  He got up off the eggs and flew away leaving this juvenile, unbanded female to pause for a heartbeat … and then fly away as well.

Click here for the archived footage: Juvenile female visits the nest.

Juvenile unbanded female at Pitt peregrine nest, pausing before she leaves (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Juvenile unbanded female at Pitt peregrine nest, pausing before she leaves (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

4 minutes later Terzo returned to the eggs.

40 minutes later Hope returned to incubate.

I’ve not had time to review all the footage but so far the archives show no sights or sounds of a fight with Hope.  Apparently Hope chased off this juvenile intruder.

For now, all is calm.

 

p.s. Thanks to Zack and sheba50 for pointing out this brief intrusion.  It was so brief that at first I couldn’t find any evidence of it.  I had to review a lot of footage to find it!

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

30 responses so far

Apr 06 2016

Who is Who at the Pitt Peregrine Nest

Published by under Peregrines

Comparison: Terzo and Hope, faces and malar stripes, Spring 2016

Comparison: Terzo and Hope, faces and malar stripes, Spring 2016

 

Now that we’ve had a complete changeover of adult peregrines at the Cathedral of Learning, our earlier guidelines for telling apart the male and female no longer apply.

Here are some clues for identifying Terzo and Hope when viewing them on the nestcam.  The most reliable clues are listed first.

1. Faces: Examine the photos above for these clues.  Terzo is at top, Hope on bottom.

Terzo: The area between Terzo’s malar stripe (moustache) and the dark gray of his nape (back of his neck) is bright white with a small black spot at the top.  His “necklace” is long and thin and almost reaches the bottom of his malar stripe. Some people say the white area framed by gray looks like a heart.

Hope: The area between Hope’s malar stripe and nape is “muddy” with gray feathers. She has almost no “necklace.”

 


2. Band colors: Terzo’s color band is Black over Red, N/29. Hope’s is Black over Green, 69/Z.

Terzo's Black/Red band; Hope's Black/Green band

Terzo’s Black/Red band; Hope’s Black/Green band


3. Plumage contrast on back: See the photos below: Terzo on top, Hope at bottom.

Terzo: His head and wingtips are darker than the feathers on his back.

Hope: Her feathers are more uniform in color.

Comparison: Terzo's back is paler than his wingtips (above). Hope is all one color (below)

Comparison: Terzo’s back is paler than his wingtips (above). Hope is all one color (below)


4. Pale Stripes on flanks and legs versus Bold Stripes:

Terzo is a bright white bird and this shows on his legs and flanks. His striped feathers are more white than black.

Hope’s dark stripes are much more obvious.

Comparison: Terzo and Hope, each on the green perch, Spring 2016

Comparison: Terzo and Hope, each on the green perch, Spring 2016


 

And now, a quiz.  Can you figure out who is who in this photo?  Who’s at the back?  Who’s in front? What clues did you use?

Two peregrines at the Cathedral of Learning nest. Who is in the back? Who's in front? (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Two peregrines at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 3 April 2016. Who’s in the back? Who’s in front? (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

15 responses so far

Apr 03 2016

Has Incubation Begun?

Terzo on four eggs at Pitt (photo from the National Aviary snapshot cam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo on four eggs at Pitt (photo from the National Aviary snapshot cam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

This morning Terzo kept four eggs warm at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest while Hope left to eat breakfast.

Here he is showing off the sharp contrast between his gray back and his black head and wing tips.  Hope’s feathers do not contrast as much.

Does this mean incubation has begun?  Terzo’s action is a good indication that this may be the first day of incubation, but the pair’s activities will tell the tale.  We’ll know for sure when they’re on the eggs nearly 24×7.

How long until the eggs hatch?

Incubation lasts about 33 days.  If today is the first day of incubation, watch for hatching around May 6.  (Note that hatch date predictions are never exact!)

 

(photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

12 responses so far

Apr 02 2016

Four Peregrine Eggs at Pitt!

Hope with 4 eggs at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 2 April 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope with 4 eggs at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 2 April 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

This afternoon at about 4:35pm, Hope laid her fourth egg of the season.

Her first three eggs were fathered by her deceased mate, E2, whose body was found on March 16.  This fourth egg arrived 15 days later and is undoubtedly fathered by her new mate Terzo.

Will she lay more eggs?  We don’t know.

Will she begin incubation now?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Only Hope knows the answers to these questions.

Stay tuned on the National Aviary falconcam at University of Pittsburgh to find out.

 

UPDATE:

Here’s a video captured by Peter Fullbrandt showing Hope laying the egg.  Skip to the 5:00 mark and you will see her breathing with her beak open for about 30 seconds.  When she raises her tail (at the 5:33 mark) it’s just after she’s laid the egg, though you cannot see it.   We waited for an hour for her to move off the eggs so we could count four.

 

(photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh; video capture by Peter Fullbrandt)

8 responses so far

Mar 29 2016

His Name Is Terzo

Published by under Peregrines

Male peregrine Terzo (N29) at the Cathedral of Learning nest,29 Mar 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Male peregrine, Terzo, (bands Black/Red N/29) at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 29 Mar 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

In Pittsburgh, the tradition for naming a newly arrived adult peregrine is this:

The primary nest monitor names the bird for his/her own convenience using these two rules. If the peregrine was named at banding that name is preferred. Otherwise the primary monitor names the bird.

N29 did not receive a name on Banding Day so it was my job to decide what to call him.  After many hours of deliberation and repeated consultations with my fellow peregrine monitor, Karen Lang, …

the third male peregrine to nest at the Cathedral of Learning has a name:  Terzo.

Terzo means “third” in Italian.

 

p.s. In Italian it’s pronounced Tare-tzo. It rhymes with “scherzo.”

 

(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

39 responses so far

Mar 28 2016

Mystery Solved!

Published by under Peregrines

Male peregrine at Cathedral of Learning, 25 Mar 2016, 10:50 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Male peregrine (N/29) “Terzo” at the Cathedral of Learning, 25 Mar 2016, 10:50 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Mystery solved!

The new male peregrine at the Cathedral of Learning nest — Black/Red, N/29 — hatched in 2013 at the (PNC) 4th and Vine Tower in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.

He remained a mystery for days because his band colors indicate he’s from the Midwest but Cincinnati doesn’t enter peregrine band numbers in the Midwest Peregrine Database.

This did not daunt Kathy Majich of Toronto, Canada.  Her excellent detective work uncovered a news story with a photo of N/29 on his Banding Day, Tuesday 18 June 2013, when he was about three weeks old.  She sent me this link on Saturday with a photo of him showing off his bands.

I sent Kathy’s link to Art McMorris who contacted Ohio DNR.  Jennifer Norris sent confirmation today, adding that N/29’s parents are “feisty” … so we’ll have that to look forward to.

Hope’s new mate should feel right at home at the Cathedral of Learning.  He hatched on a 31-story Neoclassical building, completed in 1913, shown below.

4th and Vine Tower (PNC) Cincinnati, Ohio

There’s even a webcam at his former home.  Watch it here at RaptorInc.org.

N29 was not named at banding so he earns a name now that he has a nest. As the third tiercel to reign at the Cathedral of Learning, his name is “Terzo”  which means third in Italian.  (In Italian it’s pronounced Tare-tzo; rhymes with “scherzo.”)  Click here to read how he got his name.

Welcome to Pittsburgh, Terzo.  We’re happy to have you here.

 

(top photo from the National Aviary falconcam at the Univ of Pittsburgh.  photo of PNC 4th & Vine Tower linked from Wikipedia. Click on the image to see the original)

 

 

42 responses so far

Mar 26 2016

Still A Mystery

Published by under Peregrines

New male peregrine at Pitt, ID photos, 25 Mar 2016 (photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

New male peregrine at Pitt, 25 Mar 2016 (photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Yesterday morning the new male peregrine at the Cathedral of Learning stepped on the nest and paused in front of the falconcam.

Ta dah!  He is banded and we captured two clear snapshots of his bands:  Black/Red, N/29.

(The black/white image was taken in the infrared light before dawn.)

Peregrine fans searched online for his identity and came up empty.  This isn’t surprising. Eastern states don’t keep an online database.

I sent the ID photos to Art McMorris, PA Game Commission Peregrine Coordinator, and he looked in his databases — which include states that don’t report online — and came up empty as well.

The bands are within the color/number series issued to a midwestern state but they are not in that state’s database. They were probably used somewhere else.  But where?

Art contacted peregrine coordinators in other states and is awaiting information.  He says it may take days to get the answer.  (Remember, it’s Easter season and the person who knows the answer may be on vacation.)

So we’ll just have to be patient.

In the meantime the new male’s bands provide us with an easy way to tell the two birds apart on camera:  Hope is Black/Green, he is Black/Red.  🙂

 

(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

p.s.  Here’s a nice article in The Trib about Hope and her new mate: Cathedral peregrine finds new beau

26 responses so far

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